Coachella Camping Pt. 1
Indio is a 2-3 hour beautiful drive from LA. If you can, I recommend driving it during the day so you can see the sights. Coachella campgrounds open on Thursday and remain open through Monday each weekend of the festival. Waits of up to seven hours to enter the campgrounds are normal, as Coachella organizers search each car for contraband items. Read the rules and pack accordingly. Don’t forget your festival pass. Everyone camping needs it to enter the campgrounds.
We rented a Jucy van in LA and it was perfect for the weekend. The camper sleeps up to 4 people and has a refrigerator and stove inside. It eliminated a lot of the things we had to buy since we were coming from out of town. It’s a great option for my people in LA, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
More on this in Part 2 of Coachella Camping.
Your Camping Spot
Your home for four days is a 10 foot by 30 foot section of the ground. If you are planning on camping with friends in another car, be sure to arrive together as you cannot save spots. A car must occupy the car camping spot, and only one car is allowed. You can purchase a companion car spot, which is an overnight parking spot for an additional car of campers. Companion cars are not allowed to park in the car camping spots. While we’re at it, only regular passenger cars, trucks or vans allowed.
Also, the closer to the opening day/time you arrive, the closer to the entrance you will be. We got there Friday morning and were pretty far away from the entrance in comparison to other people who got there earlier in the day/the day before.
Pack a tent if you don’t have a van or car with a bed option. I also strongly suggest a day tent and a tarp of some sort to block the sun from beaming down on you. Folding portable chairs are also a good idea.
I will have a full packing list of what to bring on the blog soon!
There are four car camping areas, with showers available, but expect two to three hour waits. Each of the camping areas has access to hand washing stations, bathrooms, ice and shuttle drop-offs. I had the best luck showering later in the day, from 2pm-2am. The largest rush is in the morning and it’s dead after 3am-7am. You can also use the $10 upgraded showers, which tend to have way shorter lines. Bring shower shoes and a towel and your toiletries.
There is no shortage of food at Coachella with dozens of food trucks, on-site speakeasies and bars , but the prices could make a serious dent in your wallet. We brought a lot of snacks, beer, wine, and food to cook breakfast (eggs, bacon, english muffins, etc.) the rest of the time we ate on site. If you are a foodie, Coachella is the place to be, with pop-ups from many amazing restaurants local mainly to California. There are options for any diet, which I thought was awesome.Cooking with a propane-powered appliance is only permitted in the designated vehicle camping areas. Only one grill is permitted per site, and nothing but propane can be used. The organizers regulate how much you can bring in, capping it at 20 pounds, while also only allowing cooking between 7 and 2 a.m. It’s best to bring non-perishables like granola and bread, but don’t forget to pack plenty of liquids.
Outside of the music, there is plenty to do an see both within the festival and in the campgrounds. There are games to play such as human fooseball, workouts, yoga, and pilates. There are also many options for shopping for clothes or souvenirs. Most larger acts are between 3pm and 1am, so there is plenty of downtime to hangout. Make friends with your neighboring campers. We were lucky to have nice ones on both sides of our camp and it was awesome.
The car camping areas themselves are locked down from 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. each day, with no entry and exit. If you have to make a run of any kind, do so before 10 p.m. — and that includes if you are breaking camp to get an early start on Sunday. A noise curfew goes into effect at 1 a.m. The temperature drops when the sun goes down from a hell-ish 90+ to 50-60 degrees. Plan accordingly and bring a hoodie and blanket. The sun will be back up in full effect around 8-9am so be mindful of when you plan on sleeping.
Yes, dust gets it’s on category. I am currently sitting here writing this as I hack up my lungs. There is a thing called Coachella Cough, google it. I highly recommend wearing a dust mask of some sort a majority of the time. This is the desert and with the hundreds of thousands of people who attend this festival, a lot of dust gets kicked up into the air. This will cause a lot of allergic reactions and respiratory issues for most people. I even slept in my mask. Save yourself and heed my warning.
Also, don’t wear shoes you care about. They will get dirty and there’s nothing you can do about it. Wear a nice broken in pair of Vans or Chucks, or whatever you like. Just keep in mind you will be walking miles a day on hard dry ground and your feet will pay the price.